Rural Independent TDs have said that without major amendments the Climate Action Bill “blatantly attacks the fabric of rural Ireland and our democracy”.
Ahead of the Report Stage debate and vote on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill in the Dáil, the Rural Independent TDs hd called on backbench government TDs to come out of hiding and stand up for their constituencies and rural communities instead of towing the party line.
The Rural Independent TDs challenged government TDs to “step forward and explain why they are allowing a deeply flawed and damaging Climate Action Bill to be rammed through the Oireachtas”.
Speaking at a press conference in Leinster House, the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath emphasised:
“The Climate Action Bill is back before the Dáil again. Rural Independent TDs have crafted practical amendments to make the legislation fairer and less destructive to rural Ireland and ordinary people. However, these amendments will not pass without the support of all rural TDs.”
“We are providing the platform through our amendments for all rural TDs to step forward and wear the rural Ireland jersey as a united team. All backbench Fianna Fail, and Fine Gael TDs must decide if they want to be on the side of rural communities and family farms, or continue to bat for their political parties’ obsession with power.”
“Without changes to this legislation, the damage to Irish agriculture will be immeasurable, leading to thousands of direct and indirect job losses across rural Ireland, while adding enormous and costly volumes of red tape.”
“We have tabled around 90 amendments to the Bill, representing a constructive attempt on our part, to protect rural communities and make the legislation more just.”
“In the event that this Bill is passed, without any substantial changes, then rural Ireland will be left in ruin and dictated to by an un-elected body known as the Climate Advisory Council. This body will become the new Nepht and will dictate to ordinary people on issues like whether you can cut turf, how many cows a farmer can keep and whether a son or daughter can obtain planning permission on family lands to build a home.”
“Not since independence will rural people face such obstacles and have absolutely no say on how these decisions are debated and made. The consequences mean a complete sell-out of the economy, rural communities and the public.”
“Government backbench TDs have been misleading farmers. The simple fact is that if this Bill is passed, then no-one will be able to change drastic targets set by the Advisory Council and approved by the Minister.”
“The stakes have never been higher. We remain firmly in the corner of rural communities and ordinary people. We will give rural backbench government TDs one final opportunity to decide which side they are on, when our amendments are debated and voted upon at report stage of the Bill on the floor of the Dail tomorrow,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.
Minister Eamon Ryan has refused to accept any amendments to the Climate Bill,. saying that only government amendments will be considered.